Denominations, A tool of the enemy?

Have you ever wondered why there are so many different denominations in the body of Christ? What exactly is a “denomination” and what purpose does it serve to the body of Christ? I believe the answer for this question is found in the very definition of “denomination”.

Here’s what Webster’s dictionary has to say;

de·nom·i·na·tion Listen to the pronunciation of denomination
Pronunciation:
\di-ˌnä-mə-ˈnā-shən\
Function:
noun
Date:
15th century

1: an act of denominating2: a value or size of a series of values or sizes (as of money)3: name, designation; especially : a general name for a category4: a religious organization whose congregations are united in their adherence to its beliefs and practices

de·nom·i·na·tion·al Listen to the pronunciation of denominational \-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective

de·nom·i·na·tion·al·ly adverb

de·nom·i·nate Listen to the pronunciation of denominate
Pronunciation:
\di-ˈnä-mə-ˌnāt, dē-\
Function:
transitive verb
Etymology:
Latin denominatus, past participle of denominare, from de- + nominare to name — more at nominate
Date:
circa 1552

1 : to give a name to : designate 2 : to express or designate in some denomination <will denominate prices in United States dollars>

First it should be noted that the word,”denominate” itself wasn’t used until the 15th century. By very definition, “denomination” means to “break apart” and to “name” something, as to “give it value”.

To give it a “name”? To “break apart”? To “give it value”

Let’s address each one of these things!

[1] To give it a “name”.

     I thought the body already had a name! Christianity! Followers of Christ.

[2] To “break apart”.

     So much for unity, Eh! According to Ephesians 3, Christ Jesus died to reconcille Jews and Gentiles unto God the Father. Reconcilliation brings unity to the body of Christ, not “break apart” what Christ has joined together. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. This clearly says that God loved the entire world, each person, not just this one or that one, that He gave His Son as a sacrifice for ALL humanity, that “whosoever”, anyone, who believes in him, Jesus, should not perish. 

There is clearly NO “breaking apart” described in these words of Agape Love from The Father.

[3] To give it “value”.

    Wow ! What a statement. Is that why some “denominations” feel they are more superior than others? Is this what is meant by “every man doing what is right in his own eyes”?

Remember, the word ” denomination” didn’t come about until the 15th century!

What happened to cause such a thing in the body of Christ?

Could it be the erosion of the 5 fold ministry and thus giving way unto man’s own intellect?

Without the Apostle in place, who is going to lead and teach and correct the body when neccessary? An Apostle was not just a “church planter” in our modern use of the word. On close study of Paul’s letters to the various churches, he almost always had words of not just “exortation”, but words of correction. The early church was just as prone to drift from the true gospel as the church of today is. That is why the Apostle was needed then and even now today. I know there are many who will disagree with that statement and try to back it up with scripture that the Apostleship is not for today. For the purpose of this post, however, let’s not go into that at this time. I will do another post on “Where are the True Apostles?”.

 Could it be the doing away with “Prophets”? Most mainline churches today don’t believe in the “prophetic” and they certainly have a problem with the modern “prophetic movement”.  Where are the “True Prophets” of God? Those that spoke a TRUE “Thus Saith The Lord”! Not some “pat you on the back” “Feel good” “Word from The Lord”, that sounds like something you would get from a 1-800-hot-line.

How has the enemy been able to divide the body of Christ within it’s own. The very same way he, the enemy, has always functioned. Slowly and methodically twisting and bending God’s Word to make it fit what man would find pleasing unto him! By placing seeds of doubt and unbelief into the body itself.

Jesus was onced accussed of “casting out demons” by the power of satan.    

Mark 3:22-24 (King James Version) And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.

 23And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?

 24And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

If Jesus declared that satan’s kingdom couldn’t stand if it was divided against itself, doesn’t the same thing hold true for the Body of Christ?

Scriptures declare concerning Spiritual gifts, the He gives some the gift of tongues and to another the gift of prophecy. And to others various giftings. BUT, the scriptures do not declare NOWHERE, that those gifts were given to devide the body of Christ into the many different denominations that exist today.

Ephesians 4:3-5 (King James Version)

 3Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

 5One Lord, one faith, one baptism

Read what Jesus says in Matthew 16,

 15He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

 16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

 17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

 18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Upon the revelation to Peter from God as to who Jesus was, Jesus declared that He would build HIS church. Jesus, the Chief Cornerstone himself !

My prayer is that “blind eyes” will be opened and “deaf ears” will hear what has happened to the body of Christ by the dividing of the Body of Christ, through ” denominations”.

What makes this thing even sadder is the fact that most mainline denominations agree that there is no division in heaven, yet they don’t even realize when they pray ” Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven” , they are thwarting their own prayer by being divided.

There is much more that could be said on this topic, but I am sure this will give you plenty to think about for now.

Love in Christ Jesus,

Jake

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12 Comments

Filed under apologetics, Apostles, Bible, cessasionist, Charismatic, Christianity, church, evangelical, faith, family, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, prophets, religion, theology, Uncategorized

12 responses to “Denominations, A tool of the enemy?

  1. Only insofar as all churches are the tool of Satan – what Man builds the Devil corrupts.

    Each church, sect, denomination is a construct of Man and Man is inherently flawed. If there’s a Devil I’m sure he’s happily using those flawed churches to undermine Christ’s religion.

  2. Jake

    jonlan writes,
    “Only insofar as all churches are the tool of Satan – what Man builds the Devil corrupts.”

    That’s why the True Church is the one Jesus builds, and He alone.He is the Cornerstone for Christianity and all else will crumble and fall.
    BTW, you said “If there’s a Devil I’m sure he’s happily using those flawed churches to undermine Christ’s religion.”
    There is a Devil and you are right in your assumption of him using flawed churches against Christ.

  3. “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: “I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” Revelation 3:1

    The word translated name in this verse is onoma from which the Greek word nomen is derived. From nomen we get the word nominate, denominate and, yes, denomination.

    We have a name, a denomination, but many of us are spiritually dead ~

  4. lbolm

    Acceptance,
    Thanks for your comments.
    I do believe though that as I pointed out in the original post, the word “denomination” wasn’t used untill around the1500s, so I am not so sure of your interpretation of the word name in Rev3:1 as being accurate.
    The only “denomination” or thing that “breaks apart” us, is our calling to seperate ourselves from the world and to follow HIS marvelous lite!

    Love in Christ Jesus,
    Jake

  5. Jake,

    Thanks for responding. I would suppose that we have basic theological differences in that I believe

    1 – The Bible in its original writing is the full and complete revelation of God. In my understanding this means that God’s inspiration includes the word choices of the human authors.
    2 – I believe all of Revelations, including the letters to the churches, represents prophecy and not history. The letter to Sardis, I believe, is written to the churches of the Reformation, who have nomens but many are dead.
    3 – Even though the word wasn’t used, denominationalism was not unknown in the early church. (1 Corinthians 3)

    I appreciate you stimulating my thinking ~ blessings!

  6. Jake

    Hi Acceptance,
    We may have a little difference, but that’s OK too. As long as we know “who we are, and Whose we are”, Amen?
    In looking at early church history, I am of the opinion that there was only one church, located in different geographical locals, and possibly even with some minor differences in “basic theology”, as in your reference to 1 Cor. 3. It isn’t taught that there were different denominations, but differing ideas maybe between Paul and Apollos.Paul goes on to note that no matter whose idea, his or Apollos, you line up with, it is God who makes the Church grow.
    As far as your reference to Rev. I find in my Bible, that each of the seven letters written, were to, for example; the church at Sardis,or the church at Laodeceia. It does’t say the Baptist church at Sardis or the Methodist Church at Sardis, But “THE CHURCH”. I think you get my drift. It wasn’t until the reformation when we started seeing so many different divisions. Sure there were some who saw some things differently from the others, but there was still one church.
    Bless you and all my Love in Christ Jesus to you,
    Jake

  7. [It wasn’t until the reformation] This really isn’t true. Oh, it is what we learned in history when we learned history as if it only occurred in Europe. The first major church split occurred in the 5th century when the Oriental Orthodox Churchs split from the Universal church over what I think is essentially symantecs. In the 11th Century the Eastern Orthodox Churches split with Rome too.

    You are right though, from a perspective of church history the reformation ended the “apostolic” church… in that the churches of the reformation did not have leaders who could trace their authority to one of the apostles. Instead they just redefined the term. Apostolic church was now defined as a church who follows the teachings of the apostles as stated in the Bible. And, we do have many, many interpretation ~

    I choose to hold anyone who professes to believe in the body and blood of Jesus for their salvation as a brother and sister and Christ. Really that is the only issue that seems to be scriptural.

  8. Jake

    Amen,
    Bless you and may God shine through you in all you say and do.

    Love in Christ Jesus
    Jake

  9. While I don’t agree 100% with what you say, I definitely find this post quite compelling.

  10. Emily

    Actually, it seems to me that people tend to ascribe superiority to their denomination each based on a purity claim for their doctrine. Hardly seems viable as I have never yet encountered the perfect church!

  11. petermlopez

    I am utterly amazed at the notion of one truth expressed in so many ways. I believe the church will be unified again, perhaps not in one denomination, but much closer than we are now. It will be a matter of survival, and I think mainstream denominations are realizing this, if slowly.

    I appreciate your work on this blog. If you are willing, I would like to exchange a link/blogroll placement.

  12. TAB

    Nice post. Enjoyed reading it along with the passages. Way to many denominations and way too little unity,

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